In the early nineteen sixties, Marie Yates become known as an abstract painter, from within the context of St.Ives Cornwall where she had a painting studio. However she became disillusioned by the inequalities of the art world of that time, and she went to study for a Degree in Fine Art hoping to explore the problem and to this end she enrolled at Hornsey College of Art in the September of 1968.

She rejected the American Modernist aesthetic ideals and its notions of the "purely visual": the Platonic tradition that images have the capacity to reveal mystic truths enshrined in things. However, the only help for her at Hornsey was that in 1969 the Italian Art Povera movement influenced her because it explored the context of art-making itself, and the space of the gallery, as well as the world beyond the gallery, reflecting on the relationship between art and life. Essentially, it placed the viewer at the centre of a discussion about experience and meaning.

She took part in discussions about the role of art within society and through using temporary minimalist installation works involving soft fabric forms, neon light and wind/air, in which the minimalist photographic documentation was often the work itself, she had some success in posing questions about art, though not without critical detractors. However, the inequalities remained an unspoken problem. During this time also she was strongly influenced by the writings of Lucy R. Lippard, New York critic and writer. She was interested in the early works of Yoko Ono and the beginnings of Conceptual Art, particularly the exhibition "When Attitudes Become Form" and the work of Victor Burgin, Kosuth, LeWitt, Weiner, Eva Hesse, Art-Language and John Latham. She became involved with the Artist Placement Group and exhibited in their presentation INNO 70 at the Hayward Gallery in 1971.

She emerged from Hornsey in 1971, with the landscape works: "The Field Workings". These were conceptual slide projections, audio and sculptural installations employing image and text, which continued to question the role of the artist, and the nature of "the artwork". The projects were well-received outside of Hornsey in the seventies and she gained small grants, positive responses, commissions and shows for this work which were developed into gallery installations. By 1977 she had turned to themes of culture and political ideology, still using landscape as a focus in questioning the role of language in Art and the relationship of images and texts and the significance of the photograph within society. She also become convinced that as an artist, her works had to become aimed towards social change.

She confronted "the display and consumption of landscape" by juxtaposing beautiful views of rural England with simple binary oppositions - a confusion of predictable romanticism and objectification devices in order to expose the codes at work.

At about this time (1978), she became extremely interested in the works of Mary Kelly, whom she had met at University College at a conference, as well as Laura Mulvey at the Filmakers Coop, and as a direct result she entered wholeheartedly into the womens movement in art, combined with debates on the role of the media in society.

In 1979 she responded to an invitation from Lucy R. Lippard who was curating her previous landscape works in New York and Chicago, to take part in the exhibition ISSUE: Social Strategies by Women Artists at the Institute of Contemporary Art in London in 1980 and a project was constructed specially, entitled "Image/woman/text" (after Roland Barthes), which explored social preconceptions about photographic images of women, the way those preconceptions are made, and the meanings constructed accordingly.

Issue was an international exhibition curated by Lucy R. Lippard. It concentrated on women artists whose work dealt with specific social and political issues which they are concerned to bring to the broadest possible public, Their art dealt with social concerns which include health, ecology, unemployment, war, alienation, schooling, violence against women and propaganda. They tended to share a general strategy in the application of the feminist credo 'the personal is political' to issues often considered to be outside 'the woman's domain.'

Issue was conceived by Lucy R, Lippard, May Stevens and Margaret Harrison, and was the first international exhibition that brought together these concerns in women's work.

Following on from this came her long-term installation project on the power of the image in the construction of identification and sexuality: "The Missing Woman 1982", and then laterr, a major project dealing with desire and separation in the process of a daughter mourning a mother: "The Only Woman 1985", negotiating the interface between the social and the psychic.

Between 1979 and the present many works have been constructed following on from the initial credo of 'the personal is political'. Many have not been exhibited widely.

Most recently, from a position of exile, using video, installation, image and text, she has turned to the question of exile and belonging, and of the impossibility of returning home, all of which are now the condition of so many. The project is entitled "On Not Going Home"

Works 1962-2015